Suprise, suprise! Empire Merchants North ( the former Colony Liquors ) has decided to move to Greene County instead of staying in Ulster County. All of the existing employees will be offered jobs at the brand new, UNION BUILT facility north of Kingston. The Greene County IDA put the $27 million dollar deal together that will preserve the liquor employees jobs and create prevailing wage construction jobs. What a win-win for everyone involved!
The Ulster IDA just didn't get it. They thought that cutting the baby in half was the answer. Word is that the powers that be at Empire Distributors lost all respect for our Ulster IDA and how they handled the situation. They could not believe that the Ulster Agency charged with creating and PRESERVING jobs thought that screwing the Ulster construction trades was the solution. Unfortunately, it had nothing AT ALL to do with the decision.
Our Ulster IDA not only lost the jobs (here) for the liquor workers ( they still have jobs there ) , they sold out the entire Ulster County construction workforce for nothing. You remember, they THOUGHT they had to cancel out the prevailing wage policy so that the liquor workers wouldn't lose their jobs. They were sadly mistaken. Now Greene County has all of the jobs.....the permanent jobs and the prevailing wage construction jobs. Nice job, Greene County!
Our IDA thought the local construction workers concerns didn't matter and that their jobs were throw away jobs. They aborted the prevailing wage policy despite proof that using prevailing wages still kept the project within the budget. Our IDA was a bit confused toward the end. They thought it was some sort of a game. The IDA vs the Local construction worker - and guess what? The construction workers lost the prevailing rate and the liquor workers kept their jobs anyway - just as was predicted. Their only hardship is that they may have to drive a half an hour to work. Which is best described by todays commuting standards as "working close to home".
Oh,... and yes, thank you Elliot Auerbach for your vote against the prevailing rate and the building trades. Wait until YOU need a job.
Steve Finkle, director of Kingston's Office for Economic Development, said that people now employed in Kingston will still have the opportunity to work at the Greene County site. Seems like the only thing OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT LEADERS can "develop" around here are BIG ASSES - from sitting on them.